Custom Mod Basics – Boil And Pop Method

It’s been a while since I’ve done a guide to the basics of modding, but today on we’re going to discuss a method that’s not often used for modding Transformers, but widely used for modding action figures.

The Boil And Pop Method!

As this is something basic, a lot of you may already be familiar with it. I’d at least heard about it, until I had to actually use it. And while it seemed a bit scary at first, it turned out to be very easy.

There are also probably a bunch of guides to how to do the boil and pop method already on the internet, but I wanted to talk about it on here both because it’s out of the ordinary so far as Transformer customizing, and because I like talking about learning how to do things.

My Transformer custom mod guides are based around me doing things for the first time and then showing you how to do it too, after all, so why not this too? :)


“Hang on a second. As your fake lawyer I’ve been told by you to pretend like I care about warning something something bodily harm, boiling water, blah blah blah, et cetera, et cetera.”

"The blood on the box is how you know it's quality."

… Do you even know what a lawyer is?

“Et cetera is Latin.”

DISCLAIMER: Boiling water is a good friend, but a lousy master.

“That shit is HOT.”

Yeah, so please exercise caution when dealing with hot water. I’ve seen what a lady did to McDonalds, so please to not be spilling hot liquids in your lap when using this method.

“But if you do, call me.”

You want to be the test subject for the method?!

“Whoa there, huge, manly, and incredibly handsome. I was mostly kidding!”

That’s it, you’re going back on the shelf in a romantic pose with super articulated Spider-Man.

“Like I’m scared of that. What do ya think’s in the box?”

Okay, so lets get started with an explanation.

No, not of Deadpool. The Boil And Pop method.


How It Works

Have you held an action figure lately? The plastic used in it is a bit pliable, almost rubbery.

Rubbery plastic gets even more pliable when it’s hot.

Hot water can safely heat up plastic.

A lot of action figure joints are made with mushroom-tipped pegs, where the tip is wider than the shaft, making it more difficult to pull out once the plug is in the hole.

“What, like two dogs?”

“It’s a real thing. They can get stuck. Backwards.”

I know! And it’s not even thanks to the internet, but I know! T_T


“Then my job here today is done.”


Basically, you heat the plastic safely by using hot water and it becomes pliable enough to warp around the wider tip of a peg, letting you ‘pop’ the joint apart.


And while there are lots of different types of pegs, from the thick pins in an action figure’s knee joints, to the swivel post in something like a shoulder joint, most of them can be manipulated using the boil and pop method.

I say most, because some joints are made of harder plastic. We’ll mention those more later on.


Want to support this blog? Check out The Witching Well, our first illustrated eBook!


Step 1 – Heat Water

Notice that says ‘heat’ and not ‘boil’? That’s because you don’t have actually have to boil any water to do the boil and pop method.

Just get it really hot.

What I do is take a plastic container like the kind used to keep food fresh in the fridge, fill it with enough water to cover the part I’m wanting to boil and pop, then put the container full of water in the microwave for about two minutes.

Don’t actually microwave the part that you’re going to boil and pop, just the water and the container.

Depending on the amount of water, you might want to microwave it longer.

Be advised that really hot water from a microwave can actually explode if it’s heated beyond the boiling point without actually boiling. The impurities in tap water mean it will boil, so use that instead of distilled. :)


Step 2 – Heat Plastic

Once you take the water out of the microwave, carefully put the plastic that you want to boil and pop and put it in the water.

Leave it there for about a minute.

Then quickly use your fingers use some plastic tongs to pull it out and blot it with a paper towel.

The plastic is going to be warm, but it should be okay to handle. If it feels like it isn’t, put on some gloves.


Step 3 – Pop Plastic

Depending on what kind of joint you’re taking apart here, there might not even be a pop. If you’re pulling a shoulder joint out of a hollow torso, it’ll probably make a noise, but don’t expect one from just prying the peg out of a knee joint.

For something like a shoulder plug, it just lets the plastic warp enough to pull the bigger head out of the smaller hole. It might look like it’s stretching the joint, but damage to the plastic is rare as long as it’s heated up enough to be pliable.

If it’s prying the peg out of a knee joint, it’s exactly what it sounds like. If it’s a standard hinge joint, there will be a thick plastic ‘peg’ that goes horizontally through the knee, with one part of the leg having a circle joint in the middle and the other part of the leg having two sections to go on either side of that. Heat up the leg and pry one of the outside sections to the side, allowing the peg and the middle part to slide out.



Just reverse the process to reassemble joints. Heat up the water, heat up the plastic, and then use the pliable plastic to put the joint back together.


BONUS METHOD – Action Figure Torso Cracking

So what happens when the boil and pop method doesn’t work, because of something like a shoulder joint is made of hard plastic?

First, check to see if there are any screws in the torso.

If there aren’t, you’ll have to ‘crack’ the torso.

To do that, use the boil and pop method to heat up the torso, but least the torso in the water longer. This helps to loosen the glue that’s holding the two halves together.

Take it out of the water, blot it with a towel, and carefully work a sharp blade in the crease between the halves. Make sure the plastic is dry because you don’t want your grip on it to slip when using a sharp blade.

Go slowly, and if it doesn’t seem like much of a crack is forming then heat up the torso again. Work around at different places on the torso’s seam, trying to form more of a crack.

Eventually you can use a flathead screwdriver to pry the two halves apart.

Action Figure Torso Cracking isn’t as easy as the boil and pop method, and it could damage the plastic, so be careful when doing it.


And that’s it for this Custom Mod Basics Guide on how to do the Boil And Pop Method. I might eventually add some pictures, but do you really need a picture of an action figure floating face up in hot water to show you what it looks like to put an action figure in hot water?


So, dear readers, was this guide helpful to you? What is really inside of Deadpool’s box?

Leave a comment and let me know! And if you want to help out any friends with their mushroom-tipped pegs, share this guide using the boxes below!

~Matt Booker

4 thoughts on “Custom Mod Basics – Boil And Pop Method

  1. This is where it’s easier for us in the UK,
    We have electric kettles, something you guys in the US don’t seem to use as much.
    Boil kettle, pour hot water in mug, drop figure in (or pose him like he’s sitting in a hot tub), Done!
    No messing about with a microwave :)
    With smaller figures sometimes just holding the joint over the spout of the kettle as it boils is enough. That works well for straightening weapons that have warped in the package too.

    Great guide, BTW :)


  2. Thanks, Doug! That’s actually really cool about holding it over the steam.

    And yeah, electric kettles are an oddity around here. I think the main times I’ve seen them were on BBC shows. :) How long do they take to boil?

    ~Matt Booker

  3. Kettle only takes about a minute to boil, and you can make a cup of tea at the same time as fixing your figure :)

    Of course, we may have the kettle but you guys have the toys…


  4. Thanks, Doug! :) That’s certainly a heck of a lot faster than traditional methods.

    And hey, sometimes we don’t get the toys either… and then we all have to put up with a large portion of the American fandom complaining about it for months on end. XD

    ~Matt Booker

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